Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Asian players in MLB favored over Latin American players?

Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox thinks so:
Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen thinks Asian players are given privileges in the United States that Latinos are not afforded.

In his latest rant, the outspoken Guillen also said that he's the "only one" in baseball teaching young players from Latin America to stay away from performance-enhancing drugs and that Major League Baseball doesn't care about that.

He said MLB cares only about how often he argues with umpires and what he says to the media.

Guillen said it's unfair that Japanese players are assigned interpreters when they come to the U.S. to play pro ball, but Latinos are not.
Echoes of the tensions in LPGA? A little? Sorta? Not at all?

Anyway, Mr Guillen doesn't actually mention Koreans (the article doesn't mention it anyway), but his comment would seem to include Koreans (and Taiwanese and others). Heck, maybe Mr Guillen also means Koreans when he says Japanese.

But if what he's saying is correct, then perhaps he has a point. And that point should not be to yank — heh heh, yank — the interpreters (and teachers) from the Asian players, but make sure that the Spanish-speaking players have them if they need them.


  1. It's probably important to note that it's not that MLB is snubbing Latino ballplayers, but the reason why Asians are allowed interpreters and Latinos are not (I personally didn't know Latin players were not allowed to have interpreters) is probably because most MLB teams have at least 20% or more spanish speakers on the team. With so many players and coaches who speak Spanish (whether they are from the US or south America), why would you want to fill the dugout with translators? The most Asian players on any team is probably no more than a handful...and they are mostly in the bullpen anyways. I'm sure if MLB ever gets to the level of having a similar number of Asian players on each team, they will have to start banning those translators. PLUS, most Spanish speakers can pick up English better than Koreans or Japanese (if they don't already speak a bit), so that could be another reason. I knew Ozzie was a colorful character, but I didn't know he was that ignorant.

  2. Usually it's the other way around: In smaller cities and towns, Spanish speakers get bilingual interpretation and translation services automatically while other language speakers have to request it for three reasons: dominance of Spanish speakers, availability of bilingual staff, and generally low English proficiency of Spanish-speaking immigrants. Reasons #1 and #2 reinforce reason #3.

  3. LastnameKim, I think your theory goes a long way toward explaining this.

    Sonagi, I definitely see what you mean. The sheer numbers plus the almost entitled sense that the US is, secondarily, a Spanish-speaking country, definitely means the infrastructure is there for Spanish-language interpretation. (It always cracks me up to fly into Honolulu International Airport to see Federal signs around HNL in English and Spanish, even though there is virtually no one who needs the Spanish and there are loads of people who could use Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc.).

    I guess that what makes this case different, assuming again that Mr Guillen is accurate in his assessment, is that when there are large sums of money at stake (i.e., these expensive Asian ballplayers) then people make sure they are getting the interpretation they need. With the Spanish-speaking players, then LastnameKim's theory kicks in.


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